fumble

1 of 2

verb

fum·​ble ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio)
fumbled; fumbling ˈfəm-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce fumble (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: to grope for or handle something clumsily or aimlessly
b
: to make awkward attempts to do or find something
fumbled in his pocket for a coin
c
: to search by trial and error
d
2
: to feel one's way or move awkwardly
3
a
: to drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder
b
: to lose hold of a football while handling or running with it

transitive verb

1
: to bring about by clumsy manipulation
2
a
: to feel or handle clumsily
b
: to deal with in a blundering way : bungle
3
: to make (one's way) in a clumsy manner
4
a
: misplay
fumble a grounder
b
: to lose hold of (a football) while handling or running
fumbler noun
fumblingly adverb

fumble

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of fumbling
2
: a fumbled ball

Example Sentences

Verb She fumbled in her pocket for her keys. They fumbled a good opportunity to take control of the market. He was hit hard and fumbled on the 20-yard line. He fumbled the ball on the 20-yard line. Noun played the entire piano piece without a single fumble
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Bengals safety Vonn Bell forced Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson to fumble the ball. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 24 Dec. 2022 Chase would also fumble three drives later in Cincinnati territory, setting up New England for their penultimate drive of the day. Mohammad Ahmad, cleveland, 24 Dec. 2022 Allen caused New York quarterback Daniel Jones to fumble on the opening series of the game. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 5 Dec. 2022 Do-all Derwin does it again: Safety Derwin James Jr. caused the game’s only two turnovers, forcing James Conner to fumble in the first quarter and intercepting a pass thrown by Kyler Murray in the second. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2022 The Philadelphia defense was led by defensive end Haason Reddick, who sacked Lawrence two times, forcing him to fumble on each occasion, including one to seal the game. Kris Rhim, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2022 The Spartans then came out of the second half and quickly drove inside the 10-yard line, only for Thorne to fumble on a run, recovered by Minnesota. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, 24 Sep. 2022 Watkins hit the ground, popped up and took off running, only to fumble the ball and give Washington possession. Arkansas Online, 15 Nov. 2022 Watkins hit the ground, popped up and took off running, only to fumble the ball and give Washington possession. Dan Gelston, ajc, 15 Nov. 2022
Noun
In a 22-18 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, New England had rallied from a 22-point deficit when Stevenson lost a fumble at the Cincinnati 5-yard line with 59 seconds to play. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 30 Dec. 2022 Bellinger lost a fumble at the Minnesota 23 in the first quarter. Dave Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Dec. 2022 Bellinger lost a fumble at the Minnesota 23 in the first quarter. Dallas News, 24 Dec. 2022 Conceding defeat, Daboll inserted his backup quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, who lost a fumble on the next drive as fans departed MetLife Stadium in perhaps a mood that was more downtrodden than the weather. Emmanuel Morgan, New York Times, 11 Dec. 2022 Defensive tackle Mike McCoy picked up a fumble on the Saints' second play from scrimmage and ran 19 yards to give Green Bay a shocking 14-0 lead in the first 65 seconds of play, and the lead would grow to 16-0 before the Packers blew it. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 3 Jan. 2023 Before that, though, Prescott lost control on the exchange and lost his first fumble of the season. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 30 Dec. 2022 Rhamondre Stevenson's late fumble - stripped by Vonn Bell and recovered by BJ Hill - gave Bengals fans reason to exhale and celebrate. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 24 Dec. 2022 Cook added 99, including a 27-yarder in the third following a fumble by the Bears’ David Montgomery, giving the Bills a 21-10 lead. Andrew Seligman, ajc, 24 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fumble.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish fumla to fumble

First Known Use

Verb

1534, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fumble was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near fumble

Cite this Entry

“Fumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fumble. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

fumble

1 of 2 verb
fum·​ble ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio)
fumbled; fumbling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce fumble (audio)
: to feel about for or handle something clumsily
fumbler noun

fumble

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act or instance of fumbling
2
: a fumbled ball

More from Merriam-Webster on fumble

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